Thursday, September 22, 2011

Discouragement and Happiness

Dear Family and Friends,

So this last week was like the hardest week of my mission, it was also a very good one. So we have been working very hard. My new companion is really great. She struggles like the rest of us, but we are doing wonderful together. Last week, we knocked, and tried to contact so many people. I loved it.

We have a lot of progressing investigators. I really thought things were just going great. I gave a great training the other day in District Meeting over how to fight discouragement through having charity and bearing a strong testimony. Its amazing what can happen if you have charity. I really felt the Spirit and I learned so much from the Elders and my companion in this training. We were also invited to sing at stake conference with all of the rest of the missionaries. It was amazing. Right before the conference we practiced. They decided to have us sing in Spanish....there are not that many of us. I was really glad that I could do that for the ward members that came. It was a whole session on missionary work. It was great. Our mission president spoke and it was amazing. We also had a nonmember sing "O Divine Redeemer" (and I really need that song now). It was so powerful. I love the way music can invite the Spirit.

After the conference we were planning on visiting our great investigators Thelma, Felix and Esperanza. We were so excited to see them. They had already done their reading and we brought cookies for the kids. We were so excited to put them on date. I felt so good about it. We went and they thought it was Sunday that we were supposed to come by and Felix was sleeping. So we made an appointment for Sunday afternoon. Lately I have been really struggling to understand why I haven't seen any baptisms. It is not everything, but it hurts when you see other missionaries that don't work as hard get baptisms. I was so excited. We were listening to Stake Conference in Spanish (which is still harder to understand than English lol) and there was a wonderful talk. The stake president talked about the purpose of life. He said that the purpose of life is not to receive blessing (or in other words the purpose of a mission is not to have tons of baptisms) it is to prove faithful to Jesus Christ. This really hit me. It was just so true. My mission president always says I am a great missionary. During this talk Thelma called and told us that her husband doesn't want us to meet with them any more. He wants them to be Catholic (yesterday he took them to church for the first time in years). I couldn't hold back the tears honestly. I just didn't understand. Everything was going so perfectly and then it was just gone. I had spent all morning thinking about her. So yesterday was just a really hard day. I felt like I couldn't be the missionary I wanted to be. It hurt all day long.

So this morning I needed to read some things to bring me up. I read some really great scriptures.
D&C 123:17
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

This scripture changed the way I thought about my work. I need to do the work cheerfully with all of my power and then leave it up to God and wait for the miracles to happen. I really don't know why I have seen so many people get so close to baptism and move, don't want to listen or just say they don't want it. I don't know, but I really think I have a lesson to learn. I don't know God's ways and His ways are not mine, but He does work in mysterious ways for the salvation of His children.

I then read 2 Nephi 4:15-35

This gave me some much comfort because God just knows me so well. Read it!

I am still sad about Thelma, but there are other great blessings and prospects. On Friday we taught Juan and Hilda the nonsmoking program. They haven't smoked since. We went by today (yes today :) ) because Juan doesn't work today. We had an amazing lesson about baptism. Juan asked us why we needed to get baptized in water. It was so amazing how the Spirit led my words and how strong it was. They both understood so much. They looked at each other with new understanding. We put them on date for the 15th of October. I am so excited. It felt so good.

Also can I just say I love being a missionary. Today we were at the grocery store and someone asked me if i was a LDS missionary (its my favorite question). I love that I can say yes! His name was Jake. A lot of his family are members. It was so nice to talk to him and invite him to learn more. I love that.

So I am still in the work out program. Every morning....I hate it, but after eating salads and working out hard core I definitely feel better. We played soccer today and Frisbee. So my companion is super good.....and you all know me so I won't lie. I'm not that good. I did block the ball with my body a couple of times. The elders are nice and tell me good job...but I know the truth lol.

Tomorrow is Zone Conference and it is all about how to fight discouragement and I am so excited.

Funny story time!
1. The other day we went to lunch at a less actives house. She told me what we were eating and in my head I So I kept trying to whisper it to Hna. Romero.....psssssstt! Pig Skin! pssssstttt! Pig Skin! Yep we ate boiled pig skin. I won't lie I didn't like it. I got a huge piece. Hna. Romero got a napkin when she wasn't looking and wrapped her food in it and hit it between her legs. I was too close to the member so i couldn't. I tried to cut it up to look like I ate more and then hid some of it in the corn husks of the tamale I was eating. It was just so funny. I can't adequately describe over email why it was so funny.
2. Yesterday we talked to a creepy old guy named Larry. It was one of the most interesting contacts. It stared out with " When God made your face, He was just showing off!" He was trying to convince me about science....luckily I could at least prove in my head he was wrong. That degree came in handy. Luckily a testimony is so much more powerful.

Family and Friends - I love the gospel. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know that God loves us and that He gives us trials because we have so much to learn. I know that we can prove He is real, because I can test the commandments. I can test His promises. He always does what He says He will. I love being a missionary. I don't want to the time to go any faster and I don't want to ever have to not be a missionary. I love you all very much. I hope you liked this email. I am doing great.

Hermana Spencer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9/12 Mustard Yellow

Dear Loving Family and Wonderful Friends,

It has only been two days since I emailed I don't have tons to say, but don't worry it will be a good email.

I have hit my 9 month mark on the mission. I can't believe time is going by so fast. I really wish that I could be here for longer. I feel like I have SO MUCH to learn. I guess that is just how things work. I am just really trying to work hard and have no regrets.

So our ward activity was FANTASTIC! We had so many members, less actives, investigators and random people there. It was incredible. I loved it. The food was great. We gave out a couple of Book of Mormons and also pamphlets and got some referrals....which are a missionaries best friend. However...they all live in the NORTH MISSION! One of them is from Mexico and practically all of her family are members. I asked her why she wasn't and she said she didn't know. She really is so excited to meet with us....but she lives less than half a  mile outside the mission.

We should be having a baptism really soon. We have found some really great people lately. We met this lady Thelma. She has two kids and the lesson we had with them was superb! This last week without Hna. Coughlen has been different, but so GREAT for me. I feel more confidence and it has made me rely on the Lord more for guidance. I really hope I get to stay in the area a little longer, but if I stay any longer I will have been here for 9 months and that is a really long time.

So random things:
We have so much fun teaching people English.
I love knocking.....I don't like it when we start, but I always love it by the end.
Yesterday we taught the youth about and it was amazing. We watched this video about a scientist and it made me miss lab work. I almost cried. Who knows if I will ever do that again.
Today I found one of the cutest yellow jackets ever.....and it was half off at a thrift store! (Future Sister Missionaries....go to thrift stores. They are the best).
I have started working out hard core (meaning some days I can barely walk lol). Every morning I say I don't want to do it...but I always survive.
My Spanish is improving...everyone says so. Saturday after the activity, the Bishop told us that he forgot to assign people to talk (he dropped his daughter off at college last week), and asked if we could talk. So I prepared for 15 minutes and gave a talk in Spanish. A couple of months ago that would not be possible.
Also this week we are eating salads.....its not that bad especially because people fry almost everything for dinner.
I love the Book of Mormon more than anything in the world! It really is changing my life. It can change yours too!
Sometimes the elders make me go crazy!
I am training at district meeting this week over charity, bearing a powerful testimony and also not getting discouraged....we will have to see how to tie those in together.

So everything is super great here! I love you all!

Hermana Spencer

9/10 Crazy Denver 4th

Dear Family and Friends,

Holidays really throw off things. We have not really had any time this week to email. So you will be getting double emails...sort of.

I am still here in Denver 4th! BUT, with a new companion, HNA. ROMERO! Hna. Coughlen is in Grand Junction baptizing thousands....or soon will be. Hna. Romero is from San Diego and has a transfer less than me, she loves soccer, and she was like less active forever!  (she told me what to say about her)!

So I am trying to remember what happened the last week of the transfer. ... ...

Hilda our awesome investigator is still doing awesome. On Sunday her and her husband went to church and to Sunday school. This class was the best class EVER! Juan, her husband, asked a question. I don't remember what the question was exactly, but he talked about being confused (just so you know we have only taught him once at this time). Him and Hilda asked lots of questions....then all of our less actives and recent converts that we visit answered. They assured them that everyone feels confused at one point and that is why we have church and they all bore their testimonies. IT was WONDERFUL. Hilda is also almost done with 1 Ne. She is loving it. Juan also wants to be baptized. We really hope that they can be baptized this transfer. They have several obstacles to overcome.

Also it has been an amazing week. I was really sad to see Hna. Coughlen go. I really do love her very much, but this week has been so great for me. I have been so blessed by Heavenly Father. My Spanish has improved, and so has my confidence. We have found some really great investigators and are just having a great time. I have really felt Heavenly Father's hand in the work this week. I was really nervous to not have Hna. Coughlen, but I realized then and now that I need to grow. I have a great goal! We have a section in the back of our planners to write down about people we talk to. I am going to fill it up and i am super excited. Yesterday I had an awesome experience with a Pentecostal! It was really fun to talk to him. I really hope that he talks to the missionaries when they stop by.

Also we have started a work out program....yep. I am so sore and every morning I think I am going to die. lol.

Also yesterday we were at a less actives house and her 19 yr old nephew was there. We were friendly with him and invited him to read the Book of Mormon with us. Well he leaned close to my companion...awkward. We invited him to an awesome ward activity and he asked if we would be there. We said yes and he said OK, I'll come. Then when we were leaving...I went to give a handshake while he was asking for a hug....then I freaked out and just said....WE can't hug! ... (Hna. Romero says that he had his arms all ready for a hug and I blocked it)...Then he shook my hand and hermana Romeros and ran upstairs. It was super funny and awkward. Poor guy!

So things are great here in Denver 4th! We have a great activity tonight Noche Latina. I am really excited to meet everyones friends and eat the food!

I really hope all is well! Love being a missonary!

Hermana Spencer